Changes at Augustana College Art Museum

August  18, 2014

      As the Augustana College Art Museum prepares for a new exhibition, its leader plans to start a new chapter in his life. In September, an exhibition devoted to Swedish art will open and museum director, Preston Thayer, will leave. 

      Last year, the college received a large donation of Swedish art from Sam Charters, an American musicologist and and his wife, Ann, a literature professor. They chose Augustana because of its Swedish and Lutheran heritage. Thayer says the exhibition is called "A Different Way of Seeing" and features about 100 works dating from 1877 to 1975. 

       "They chose works that are visually very interesting and quite varied. We have textiles; we have sculpture; we have paintings; we have works on paper. Just about everything except--there's no photography in the show. Just about every other medium that's possible, something is represented there."

      He hopes visitors can see how 18th and 19th century Swedish art reflected the social and political changes of the time.  Dr. Thayer came to Augustana only last fall, but believes he's accomplished a lot, such as digitizing the archives. 

       "Reorganization of the permanent collection and setting the exhibitions program on a new course that emphasizes ad hoc connections to faculty and other departments is probably the legacy of my 11 1/2 months that I've been here."

      The contemporary art expert, who says he couldn't paint his way out of a paper bag, plans to move to Virginia to be with his wife. 

       Kai Swanson will serve as interim director of the art museum until Augustana College finds a permanent director.

      "A Different Way of Seeing" will open September 5th. 


(Photo: Dr. Thayer holds one of the paintings that will be featured in "A Different Way of Seeing.")